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Individual Differences and Information Processing

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic


“Individual differences” (also known as “differential psychology”) is the area of psychology concerned with the scientific understanding of how, why, and to what degree people differ. Its two major objects of study are personality and intelligence, though →  emotion , motivation, vocational interests, and creativity also represent important, and increasingly researched, topics. Thus, individual difference factors attempt to describe and explain the nature, causes, and consequences of any psychological differences between individuals. Typically, such differences are quantified and measured or assessed via psychometric tests ( Chamorro-Premuzic & Furnham 2005 ). “Information processing” is a paradigm that originated within the cognitive psychology movement of the 1940s to explain human thinking via a series of mainly computational or cybernetic metaphors (e.g., human brain acting as hardware vs human mind acting as software). More generically, →  information processing refers to the psychological mechanisms by which humans perceive, encode, decode, acquire, retain, and retrieve information; in simple terms, how we make sense of the perceptual and symbolic world around us. While the core aspects of information processing are, by definition, ubiquitous in the human species (this is largely the premise of cognitive and experimental psychologists), individuals do differ in their ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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